Mold Base and Steel

What’s the significance or difference between Mold Bases like LKM, DME, Hasco and Tool Steel like P20, H13, and 420SS? Trying to decipher production quotes…some tools have short mold life whereas others seem to have a long life. Any insights?

Ask your suppliers.

It usually depends on plastic material the tool will be used for.

420ss is used for optical parts as it takes a mirror polish well.

It is all about steel hardness. The lifespan of the tool is a factor of the insert steel and material being used.

i.e. using a highly abrasive material like IXEF and Aluminum would result in a very short tool life.

P20 is a common tool steel that will get you “decent” life. You need to harden it if you have slides, or other actions, etc.

They are different compositions. They all seem to have 1,2,&3 steels. we use #3 steel for cavities and #1 steel for the rest of the mold. If there are inserts in the mold we’ll use #2 steel for the a & b and #3 for the insert.

H13 is a supper hard material for special projects, and I think 420ss is stainless for medical projects.

For basic plastic injection molding you should be fine with p20 #3 steel.

Think about cooling more than material when considering a mold base.

Generally, you can’t have too many water lines for a well designed mold.

If you would prefer that we provide a quotation to manufacture your products we will make all of the necessary desisions for you. It is all dependent on annual volumes, materials, cavitation, etc. There are numerous decisions that should be made by the manufacturer of the product. They just have collect the proper information from you.


Aaron Hirschmann - President
Plas-Tech Engineering Inc.

Thanks for offering to help. I learned a lot from various suppliers. I’ve already found a great offshore supplier and closing in on T1 samples.